LETTER: We are all responsible for carbon footprint

Readers' letters | Published:

A reader who was "more guilty than most" over pollution calls for people to follow his lead and reform.

'Carbon footprints can and ought to be kept to a minimum,' says Graham Payne

Circa 1979 l was on a Boeing 737 flight out of Aeroport de lbiza in Spain, with my former wife and two young daughters aged about seven and three years.

I was seated next to a port (left) window just forward of the wing. It crossed my mind just how much pollution I and my fellow passengers were creating as the aircraft climbed at full speed.

I made a decision there and then that never again would I fly on commercial aircraft; a decision I've kept to.

This was some 30 years before the phrase 'carbon footprint' was first coined & 25 years before Sir David Attenborough came out of denial & jumped on the Global Warming bandwagon following a lecture by American Scientist Ralph Cicerone in 2004 .

Until then, by his own admission, he was sceptic and remained unconvinced.

The most recent comments come from the United Nations with regard to the need to reduce our consumption of meat.

Each and every one of the population of the developed world can and ought to be conscious that we as individuals can make a collective difference for the benefit of future generations. In this our selfishness and wastefulness beggars belief.

So called 'Third World' countries with little infrastructure obviously have a much smaller carbon footprint than we in the west, and indigenous tribes even less so.


For example, the main difference between our philosophy and that of Native American Indians is that they consider those who have passed, those now living, those in the womb & those yet to be conceived, to be members of the tribe.

Until that decision I was more guilty than most in that I was a HGV driver, driving school proprietor and more recently, ran a successful business with commercial vehicles, gas guzzling Jaguars and Range Rovers, qualified as a pilot of light aircraft and it was some years Iater, that I was able to 'pull the plug' on this Iifestyle.

Therefore, I'm the last one able to 'throw stones' or 'point the finger' - we are all guilty. I would often say: "They chop a forest down every week for me," such was my paper use.

Footprints in snow or soft ground are unavoidable but carbon footprints can and ought to be kept to a minimum, and if this letter pricks the conscience of just one it will have been worth it.

Graham Payne



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